Numerous library and archive resources are located on the MTSU campus. Copying of materials housed in these facilities is permitted only in compliance with federal copyright statutes and in accordance with departmental rules and regulations.
Albert Gore Research Center
The Albert Gore Research Center serves the campus community and members of the public interested in American politics, the history of MTSU, veterans’ and military history, regional history, and equine studies. You can visit the center in TODD 128 weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and online at gorecenter.mtsu.edu/.
The Albert Gore Research Center has especially strong collections documenting American government and political activism. It holds the papers of Albert Gore Sr., (MTSU ‘32) from his years in the U.S. House and Senate and the records of Representative Bart Gordon (MTSU ‘71), Representative LaMar Baker, Representative Bill Boner (MTSU ‘67), Representative Jim Cooper, and Representative Zach Wamp. Tennessee state legislators’ materials include the records of LaMar Baker, John Bragg (MTSU ‘40), Frank Buck, Jim Cummings, Buford Ellington, John Hood (MTSU ‘54, ‘74), and Andy Womack (MTSU ‘70). The center also holds the records of numerous political activists and citizen groups. The center is a member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and a leader in the archiving of Congressional electronic records.
As the institutional archive for Middle Tennessee State University, the center holds the official records of MTSU programs and departments as well as the papers of alumni, faculty, staff, and campus organizations. A rich collection of photographs documents all aspects of MTSU campus life from its founding in 1911 to the present. MTSU publications such as yearbooks and media productions are also part of the University archive.
Materials related to American veterans and the home front document the American military experience from the Civil War to the present. Collections related to World War II are especially rich, and include the papers of and oral histories with veterans of that war as well as documents and artifacts from the Tennessee Maneuvers. The center is a partner in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
The research center has significant collections about local history and culture. Many organizations and businesses have chosen the center to preserve their history. Middle Tennessee women hold a prominent place in the center’s collections in the records of individual women and women’s organizations. The Margaret Lindsley Warden Library for Equine Studies is an unparalleled resource for the history of horse breeding and horse sports in the region and nation.
James E. Walker Library
The James E. Walker Library is at the leading edge of libraries among Tennessee universities in its range of services as well as its collection. The library general collection has approximately 1 million volumes on the shelf and as much available electronically to provide students with 24/7 access to information. Among its specialized collections is a Special Collection of rare books as well as a Curriculum Collection that provides a model library for elementary education students. A music collection of scores and recordings is available in a listening and viewing area.
The Library provides the necessary research and study support sought by most undergraduate students and has a variety of types of study spaces, current technology, and expert staff to assist in conducting research and effectively using the campus technologies. Walker Library also hosts other student services such as tutoring, the writing center, adaptive technology lab, and a Starbucks coffee shop that provide a full range of student support all in one location.
Students will find technology and expert assistance in utilizing a variety of software and devices in the library. The Technology Services Desk staff assist students in accessing the campus network with their personal laptops, access to campus online course systems, and other services such as the loan of laptops. The Digital Media Studio and Makerspace is a creative zone for students working on multimedia projects, 3D, and virtual reality technologies and making robots.
Beyond the information, technology, and expertise the Library spaces available to students create a hub for student work. These include access to collaborative study rooms to work on group projects and presentation practice rooms to record presentations. Students will also find equipment such as computers, white boards, scanners, and printers.
More information can be found on the library’s website at library.mtsu.edu/.
Women’s and Gender Studies Library
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program, located in JUB 308, maintains a collection of books and other research materials related to women’s and gender studies. Most volumes circulate. (See also Women’s and Gender Studies Minor.)
Center for Health and Human Services
The Center for Health and Human Services is a federation of academic units that share the common goal of preparing the health and human services workforce in Tennessee. Coordinated by the chairholder of the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services, the center encourages quality interdisciplinary education, research, and service programs in health and human service areas. The center also collaborates with public agencies and private not-for-profit organizations to develop and implement programs designed to improve the health of the middle and greater Tennessee community. MTSU programs affiliated with this center include Aging Studies; School of Nursing; Departments of Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, Social Work, Health and Human Performance, and Human Sciences; Communication Disorders; Pre-professional Health Sciences; and graduate studies in gerontology and health care management.
Center for Historic Preservation
One of two Centers of Excellence at MTSU, the Center for Historic Preservation (www.mtsuhistpres.org/) was established in 1984. The center joins with communities to interpret and promote their heritage assets through education, research, and preservation. With the assistance of both graduate and undergraduate students, we practice “boots-on-the-ground” historic preservation. We go to property owners, communities, and elected officials and listen carefully to what they wish to achieve with their history. We then work together-with what we call reciprocal partnerships-to craft a plan to move forward, helping our partners integrate their pasts, historic sites, and traditions into tools for stronger communities, enhanced economic opportunities, and more meaningful engagement with their fellow citizens on what is significant to them, and in turn to the state and nation. Providing leadership and assistance on a local, state, regional, and national basis, the center’s work falls within five initiatives.
Rural preservation recognizes the unique heritage, resources, and problems of rural areas and small towns. The overall goal is to create a heritage infrastructure for successful, long-term project development in small towns that have outstanding resources but lack the expertise to use heritage resources for cultural and economic improvement. The Tennessee Century Farms Program, established in 1985 in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, is centered on farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 years. We approve applications for the program and manage a Facebook page that is very popular with Century Farm families. The Rural African American Church Project, established in 1997 in partnership with African American heritage groups and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a continuing project that documents the state’s historic black churches. Our new professional services partnerships are also reaching rural areas with such projects as exhibitions and driving tours.
Heritage education addresses the use of primary sources, including cultural heritage resources, as across-the-disciplines teaching tools in the K-12 grades. Much of this work is accomplished through the center’s statewide Teaching with Primary Sources-MTSU program, a partnership with the Library of Congress (library.mtsu.edu/tps). TPS-MTSU works with school systems, community heritage organizations, and higher education teacher-training programs to assist in developing and presenting materials that meet curriculum standards. Serving educators and students at all levels, TPS-MTSU partners with other MTSU departments and educational institutions throughout the state, such as the Tennessee Historical Society and the East Tennessee History Center. TPS-MTSU is currently focusing on the theme “Expanding Citizenship from the Civil War to Civil Rights,” and the program’s secondary focus is on expanding student research skills.
The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area (www.tncivilwar.org/) was created by Congress in 1996. The Heritage Area focuses on the preservation, interpretation, and heritage development of the multiple legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Tennessee. The center is one of the only university units in the nation to serve as the administrative head of a National Heritage Area, which are partnership units of the National Park Service. The Heritage Area provides professional services to institutions, agencies, and property owners across the state and develops funding partnerships with groups, governments, and institutions, which work with the center to establish joint projects and programs of long-lasting benefit to the state and nation. The Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, located just off the square in Murfreesboro, is a partnership with the Main Street downtown revitalization program. The Heritage Center features a central exhibition on the local Civil War story and serves as a learning laboratory for graduate and undergraduate students, who assist in welcoming visitors, giving downtown walking tours, and creating exhibitions.
Heritage Diversity focuses on incorporating the stories and traditions of all Tennesseans into the history and preservation of the state. Identifying, documenting, and assisting in the interpretation of historic African American schools, cemeteries, farmsteads, and businesses and contributions to the arts are a part of this initiative. National Register documentation of Tennessee, Alabama, and other southern sites associated with the Civil Rights movement are continuing projects. Interpretation and preservation of the Trail of Tears is also a top priority. The center is in its third year partnering with the National Park Service’s National Trails Intermountain Region to conduct a comprehensive, nine-state survey to identify and document historic buildings associated with the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The final report will serve as a planning tool for future preservation and interpretation initiatives for the Trail. Several center staff research and write about Tennessee women’s history during the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Progressive eras.
Civic Engagement includes teaching historic preservation courses each year for the Department of History and directing a number of theses and dissertations. The center hosts graduate assistants from the Ph.D. program in Public History as well as those studying at the M.A. level. Graduate and undergraduate students who work at the center assist staff on a variety of applied research and public service projects, gaining valuable interdisciplinary experiences to supplement their in-class training.
The center creates and supports several digital humanities initiatives and has a strong presence on social media. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture Online Edition is a partnership among the center, the Tennessee Historical Society, and the University of Tennessee Press. The encyclopedia Web site is a comprehensive reference for the state’s history. Southern Places, a digital humanities Web site developed by MTSU’s Walker Library, highlights the center’s fieldwork and documentary projects across the region. Trials,Triumphs, and Transformation: Tennesseans Search for Citizenship, Community, and Opportunity is a mobile-friendly digital collection originally funded by the Tennessee Board of Regents and features materials that reflect the period between Reconstruction and the end of World War II. Landscape of Liberation: The African American Geography of Civil War Tennessee is an interactive map created by a partnership between MTSU’s Geospatial Research Center and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, with digital research assistance from the center and Walker Library.
Center for Popular Music
The Center for Popular Music (CPM) is an archive and research center devoted to the study of American folk and popular music. It was established in 1985 as one of sixteen Centers of Excellence at universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents system. The center’s mission is to promote research and scholarship in popular music and to foster an appreciation of America’s diverse musical culture and its global reach. To carry out this mission, the CPM maintains a large research library and archive, presents public programs that interpret various aspects of American vernacular music, engages in original research projects, and disseminates the results of research through publications in various media. The center also runs a Grammy-winning documentary record label, Spring Fed Records.
The CPM’s archive is one of the largest and most important popular music research collections in the world. Materials in the center’s collection fall into three broad categories. First are extensive holdings of the various types of media in which music has been fixed and sold as a commodity. These include print materials such as sheet music, song books, song broadsides and songsters, and sound recordings in formats ranging from cylinders to compact discs and digital files. The center’s sound archive is one of the largest in the country and consists of more than 220,000 commercial sound recordings as well as many hours of unpublished recordings of music and interviews. The CPM’s sheet music collection of approximately 110,000 items is the largest in the Southeast, and its library of gospel songbooks is one of the most extensive of any repository not associated with a religious organization. Second are various materials that are needed to study popular and vernacular music in all its musical, cultural, historical, technological, and commercial contexts, including such items as photographs, posters, playbills, concert programs, trade catalogs, music manuscripts, news clippings, and personal papers of musicians, songwriters, and business people. Third are books, periodicals, and other reference materials about popular music. The center has one of the largest and most comprehensive libraries of books and periodicals about popular music anywhere.
Materials in the center’s collection do not circulate but are available to anyone doing research on popular music. Resources support undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research in a variety of disciplines and departments. In keeping with one of the aims of the Centers of Excellence program, the Center for Popular Music serves as a research resource for people far beyond the bounds of the University. Center staff members have fielded research queries from every state in the union and from more than thirty foreign countries. Authors, journalists, performers, media producers, documentary filmmakers, and students writing dissertations have all made use of the center’s archive and library.
Public programs sponsored by the center include lectures, conferences, symposia, and concerts of contemporary and historical popular music.
Located on the first floor of the Bragg Media and Entertainment building, the center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. The web address is www.mtsu.edu/popmusic.